Aubrey Nixon’s Love of the Theater Drives Saints & Sinners Event

Sometimes we play roles in our lives we don’t expect to play — roles we had no idea were perfect for us.

In the unscripted business of life, we never know what’s going to happen next or where our paths will lead us. It’s what makes us all interesting and unique, what helps us develop character.

Such is the case with Aubrey Nixon. As a child, the Clarksville native wanted to be a lawyer or a politician, but in college she veered toward mental health studies and obtained a bachelor of arts degree in psychology.

These days she is the senior vice president of business development with Bank of the Ozarks, a role she says she never dreamt she’d have. She’s also a member of Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum, the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Auxiliary, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, and most important to this story, a volunteer for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Pastor’s Daughter

Perhaps Nixon’s varied interests and take-on-anything attitude can be attributed to her upbringing. As the only daughter of a Methodist minister (her dad, Vic Nixon, is senior pastor at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church), she grew up accustomed to moving around frequently and adapting easily to new settings.

Although born in Clarksville, she and her family lived in Dallas while her father was in seminary. After coming back to Arkansas, they lived in Fayetteville, Berryville, Jonesboro, North Little Rock and Batesville.

“My grandparents lived in McGehee and Lavaca … so I also spent a lot of time in both of those places [as well]. I definitely credit them and many others with helping to raise me,” she said.

After graduating from Hendrix College in Conway, Nixon settled in Little Rock, and that’s where she’s lived ever since.

She got involved with The Rep several years ago when a friend asked her to serve on the marketing committee.

“I joined that committee and while serving, I learned more about the organization, its needs, the staff, etc.,” she said. “I was then asked to serve on the Board, and I have since become totally committed to this organization. I have also served as treasurer, and I currently serve on the Executive Committee, the Renovation Task Force and the Donor Cultivation Committee, as well as the Board.”

Passion for Theater

To say Nixon is passionate about The Rep and making others more aware of it would be an understatement. She is a tireless volunteer and an enthusiastic supporter.

“It amazes me that there are people who have never been to The Rep and that others do not realize that everything produced at The Rep is completely produced by The Rep (costumes, staging, lighting, etc.) and that all of the actors are professionals,” she said.

Nixon’s current charge is chairing the silent auction committee at the upcoming Saints & Sinners, The Rep’s premiere annual fundraiser. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2010, at Statehouse Convention Center.

Tickets are $300 per person, $1,000 per preferred seating patron couple, $3,000 for a regular table of 10 and $4,000 for a preferred seating patron table of 10, with all proceeds directly benefiting The Rep.

The theme is “heaven knows … Anything Goes!,” and The Rep promises it will be an event featuring “no stuffy speeches, no boring programs … just fun, spectacle and entertainment of the highest quality!”

Cruise Captains

In keeping with the nautical tone, guests will “embark” at 6 p.m. and will be greeted by Rep Cruise Captains Annamary and Greg Thompson for check-in, signature cocktails and a silent auction. Port of call will take place at 7 p.m. in the Wally Allen Ballroom for dining, entertainment, a live auction and dancing.

Some of the live auction items include a walk-on role in one of The Rep’s productions with a cast party at The Rep, a New York trip with The Rep’s producing artistic director Bob Hupp to observe Rep auditions, and a trip to the 2010 Tony Awards and after-party. “We [also] have some wonderful parties, trips, dinners, art, clothing, entertainment. … really, there is something for everyone,” Nixon said.

As one can imagine, producing The Rep’s largest fundraiser takes all hands on deck. And Nixon is quick to give credit where credit is due.

“My duties as silent auction chair basically consist of putting together a wonderful committee of people to help with soliciting auction items.”

She adds that what she likes most about The Rep is the great staff.

“They are totally committed to what they do and are an extremely talented group of people. I am proud of all The Rep has accomplished over the past several years and what we are continuing to do to ensure that The Rep remains a viable and outstanding theater. My association with The Rep has been one of the most gratifying experiences I have had as a volunteer.”

Nixon Unscripted

Soirée: What has been your favorite Rep production?
Nixon: That is a tough question. … I love them all! But my favorite is probably Les Miserables.

What have been some of your fondest memories during your time volunteering with The Rep?
Developing relationships with the staff and other board members; witnessing selout crowds for productions; observing the renovation and completion of the actor housing/apartment building that The Rep owns; participating in the wonderful fundraising events (Saints & Sinners, ArtWorks, Passion for Fashion); going to meet-and-greet events to meet the actors prior to the beginning of rehearsals for a production … I think the list is endless.

What has been your favorite theatrical performance outside of Little Rock?
The first live theater performance I ever saw was The Mousetrap in London. The second was The King and I in New York starring Yul Brenner.

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